Delhi L-G Saxena nod to run businesses 24x7
Eateries, online delivery platforms, transport and travel services to benefit from govt move
NEW DELHI: Over 300 business establishments ranging from hotels, restaurants, and eateries to online delivery services of food, medicines, logistics and other essential commodities, transport and travel services will be allowed to operate 24×7 in Delhi starting next week.
According to officials, Lieutenant Governor V K Saxena has approved the proposal to exempt 314 such applications, some of them pending since 2016. The L-G has directed that notification to this effect be issued within seven days.
The decision, providing exemption under Sections 14, 15 & 16 of the Delhi Shops & Establishment Act, 1954, is expected to boost employment generation and promote a positive and favourable business environment that is a prerequisite for economic growth. “The decision will also provide a fillip to the much desired ‘nightlife’ in the City,” an official said.
Approving the proposal, the L-G took a very serious view of and flagged the issues of inordinate delay, adhocism, randomness and unjustified discretion on part of the labour department in disposing the applications made by establishments for these exemptions.
As per officials, out of a total of 346 pending applications, 18 applications from 2016, 26 applications from 2017, 83 applications from 2018, 25 applications from 2019, 04 applications from 2020 and 74 applications from 2021 had not been processed by the Labour Department on time.
“These applications were kept pending for no reason even as just 02 applications, one of 2017 and another of 2021 were processed and sent for approval, in a display of unexplained discretion on part of the labour department, which strongly indicated the prevalence of corrupt practices,” they said.
The L-G also pointed towards the fact that it took repeated observations and persuasion from the LG Secretariat for the Labour Department to put in place a Digital Mechanism for the receipt of applications. The L-G has strictly advised that such applications are disposed of within a prescribed timeline, the officials said.
Traders welcome decision, raise concerns about security
Restaurateurs and traders welcomed the L-G’s decision to allow more than 300 establishments to function round the clock, but raised concerns about the infrastructure and the security arrangements in place to handle the situation. Manpreet Singh, treasurer of the National Restaurant Association of India, said their industry had been asking for this for a long time. “With this coming through, we can only hope that business will go up. It augurs well for the industry that was hit by the pandemic,” Singh said. While the move drew positive reactions from almost all quarters, traders voiced concerns about the security aspect. “The Delhi Police is already overburdened. If restaurants stay open 24x7, there will be a mixed crowd that will be there and we know how some people can behave,” said Anil Bhargav, president of the New Delhi Traders’ Association.